Wednesday, April 22, 2015

lovely leftover lunch

What to do with a bunch of salady-type leftovers? Add some canned tuna and go to town!

Here's what I did:

Cooked rice in the rice cooker and made it into a bowl-bed for these lovelies to rest on.

Mixed canned tuna with leftover homemade tartar sauce and cold cooked peas.

Added it on top of the rice along with leftover homemade coleslaw (I tend to throw in quite a lot of green onions to mine to give it a kick) and leftover salad (spicy wasabi leaves, tomatoes, cukes, sugar snap peas, and Japanese "five-vegetable" dressing).

For the green smoothie: blend spinach, bananas, pineapple, avocado, carrot, and coconut milk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

carrot milkshake



So easy and a nice, unusual flavor (recipe from the soy milk package).

Blend 800 ml of soy milk, one carrot, and 2 tablespoons of honey.

Monday, March 16, 2015

homemade chai lattes

A little spice for happy Mundays:

Brew some spicy chai tea, but don't fill up the mugs. Leave about 1/3 of the top free.

Add a little honey if you like. Heat up some milk on the stove, then froth it with a sweet little 100-yen frothing toy. Pour it over the tea and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Monday, March 2, 2015

japanese chicken burgers with homemade teriyaki sauce

Here's another recipe based on one by Just One Cookbook. Stephen and I loved her kimchi fried rice, but this one passed with flying colors for all four of us.

Just One Cookbook's original recipe was for chicken meatballs, but I had a little six-year-old helper, and we patted them into more of a hamburger shape. You can click on the above link to see the full recipe, but I did change a few things: I used okara instead of regular tofu, I added in some minced garlic cloves, and I left out the sweet peppers in favor of extra green onion.

Umami factor: 10++++++/10.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

kimchi fried rice

I made this quite awhile ago, but man, it's so tasty. I'm imagining eating it again right now, and I see another kimchi fried rice lunch coming up soon. Based on Just One Cookbook's recipe, I pretty much left it just as it was. More, more, more-ish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

gluten-free matcha steamed cakes


I've been really inspired lately to steam a dessert, especially as I have no oven. I also like to keep things gluten free when possible, and I can buy almond flour from my local grocery store here in Kanazawa.

This recipe for a gluten-free steamed pudding with a rhubarb sauce sounds really good, and I hope to make that soon. However, in the meantime, I wanted something small to start with--something in individual sizes and not too time consuming.

Enter Just One Cookbook's green tea steamed cakes. After making her very more-ish kimchi fried rice recently, I knew her recipes were probably all amazing!


Matcha powder and sweet red beans are easy to come by in Japan, so all I had to do was change out a few ingredients to make it a little friendlier for our eating habits.

I mixed up the batter, put half in the bottom of the cupcake liner, put in a spoonful of sweet (organic) red beans, and then covered it with the rest of the batter.


I loved Just One Cookbook's idea to wrap a towel around the lid of the pan--it kept the condensation from coming back down on to the cakes.


The link to Just One Cookbook's recipe is above, and here is how I changed it a bit.

You'll need:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. melted butter
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 T. soy milk
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 C. almond flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. matcha (bitter green tea powder)
  • sweet red bean paste or sweet red beans 
Do this:

Wrap your frying pan lid with a towel. Put four ramekins into the empty pan, put water in halfway up the ramekins, then remove the ramekins again and put cupcake liners in them. Start boiling your water.

While you're doing that, whisk the egg, butter, honey, milk, and sugar in a bowl, then sift in the baking powder and matcha powder.

Spoon some batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner, dollop in a spoonful of sweet red beans, and cover with the rest of the batter.

Steam for 12-14 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in comes out clean. The bottom of the cupcake will be a bit squidgy because the beans sink to the bottom, but they are completely delightful. (Just One Cookbook serves the red beans as a topping after the cakes are finished cooking.)

Itadakimasu! 

coconut-milk green smoothie

So easy: spinach, avocado, carrot, fresh ginger, banana, frozen mango, coconut milk. And so creamy, tropical, and lovely.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

one-(wo)man coffee

Have you seen these little one-cup coffee filters? In addition to the coffee grounds it comes with, I've just put in some cinnamon, nutmeg, garam masala, and chopped crystallized ginger and candied orange peel. This isn't really gourmet coffee (we don't have a coffee maker), but it's fair trade and from our local Aeon grocery store (store brand).

Are these only in Japan?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

thai peanut chicken + rice noodles

Not gonna make this very often because it was a PITA (pain in the...tushy), but it was YUM. Thai rice noodles, chicken, and homemade Thai peanut sauce (homemade peanut butter, garlic, ginger, lime juice, honey, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce). Topped it with some grated lime peel. I want to eat the whole room every time I walk back in and smell the lingering leftover scent. (Sauce recipe from my blender cookbook.) Hooray for national holidays and time to fiddle in the kitchen!

Friday, January 2, 2015

(clean) snow smoothie

Kanazawa snow, blueberries, carrots, cucumber, spinach, avocado, banana, coconut milk, fresh ginger, tangerine, and a smiley face

Thursday, January 1, 2015

chestnut-ginger rice pudding with(out) coconut-rum cream

A new development for a new year! Here's hoping 2015 is extra tasty.

You'll need:
  • 200 g (7 ounces) cooked and shelled chestnuts, chopped in halves
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 c. short-grained rice
  • 3 c. soy milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. cardamom
  • 4 pieces crystallized ginger, diced finely
  • 1/8 c. honey
  • 1 t. vanilla
For the cream:
  • 1 can coconut milk, pre-chilled in fridge (open it, scrape the hardened layer from the top and put it in a big bowl, and use the liquidy part for a smoothie or something--put the bowl and coconut cream in the fridge to stay cold till ready)
  • 2 t. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. rum
Do this:

First of all, a heads-up: watch your pot. Watch it like a hawk--milk enjoys boiling over. It gets a kick out of making a gihugic stinky burned mess on your gas burner. Not that I would know anything about that.

And now on to the actual directions.

I washed my rice to get the extra starch off, then put it in a pan with the milk and salt. I brought it to a lively simmer-boil, constantly stirring, and added the rest of the ingredients as the rice started to soften.

Watch it, watch it, watch it. Wait for it. Stir often to keep it from sticking.

When it's sufficiently mushy, bring your bowl and cream out of the fridge, and using a hand mixer, blend with the powdered sugar and rum. I've tried this with two different brands of coconut milk, and the last batch stiffened up nicely. This one didn't and stayed runny. Either way, delish. Just don't share this part with the kiddiewinks--they can have some cream sans the yummy rummy.

Dollop (or spoon) onto your rice pudding and sprinkle with a little cinnamon for a nice toasty-colored garnish.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

yuzu-ginger tropical-fruit crumble (gluten free)

No oven? Here's another microwaveable crumble that I put together recently. The heat from the doubled-up ginger and the tang of Japanese citrus were perfect for winter.

You'll need:

1/4 banana per person, chopped
1 can tropical fruit: papaya and pineapple
1 can mandarin oranges
3 small yuzu (Japanese citrus), juiced (I'd use the peel too)
1 1/2 c. almond flour
3 large pieces crystallized ginger, finely diced
1/4 c. flaked coconut, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/2 t. powdered ginger
3 t. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 c. butter or coconut oil, softened


Do this:

Drain the canned fruit (keeping a bit of the juices on hand) and add it with the bananas to each individual ramekin (or a larger baking dish if you're doing it all together). Add a wee bit of the canned juices to each bowl along with the yuzu juice and peel.

Mix the dry ingredients (including the coconut and crystallized ginger) in a large bowl and then work the butter in with your fingers until it's a crumbled, knobbly texture.

Cover each bowl with some of the crumble mixture, then cover and microwave each bowl about two minutes (depending on your microwave's power--mine is 700 watts).

This would be perfect with a rum sauce and/or whipped coconut cream. Eat with your favorite Japanese train spoon.








seasonal fun food bits and pieces

With no oven, I had to be creative with the frozen turkey I found (amazing that I could locate one!).

I didn't use a recipe, but I did add olive oil, butter, Himalayan pink rock salt, cracked pepper, garlic, onion powder, sage leaves, rosemary, chopped celery and leaves, and fresh bay leaves (about 4 or 5) from my friend's tree. I also added about a cup of Japanese sake. I cooked it while still partially frozen, so on high overnight and then low throughout the next day. I think I could've done it on low the whole time though.

Who knew a slow cooker could brown a bird? 
J-Bean had the wonderful idea to use some of my homemade cranberry sauce to make microwave mug muffins to go with our sausages for Christmas breakfast. Yum.
The extent of my Christmas "baking" this year: mix cream cheese, a tiny bit of powdered sugar, and rum-soaked and chopped candied orange peel, and stuff it in de-pitted dates. Top every other one with a walnut or sprinkle of nutmeg. I got rave reviews.
And you must have some popcorn while you're watching "White Christmas," right? I have a big beautiful tub of my favorite red miso from Okazaki, thanks to my friend Ayako. I had the brainwave to use it on popcorn, and found this recipe online after a quick search. Basically you melt butter, beer, and miso together and pour it on the popcorn (I did not add the extra spices). It was amazing!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

taco rice

Taco rice, an Okinawan tradition. Japanese short-grained sticky rice on the bottom, then taco meat, and top with your choice of goodies. Eat in a bowl with a spoon.

I'm pretty sure I've posted this before, but we've gotten back into the habit of eating it weekly again. 

I season my meat with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce.

Monday, December 15, 2014

wintry vegetafull-bacon soup

Warming, full of herbs, and riddled with bacon. What more could you ask for on a snowy day after a bout of shoveling?

These are not specific amounts--just enjoy playing in the kitchen! 

You'll need:
  • cooking sake
  • bouillon or stock
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • bacon
  • turnips
  • red peppers (the sweet ones, like bell peppers)
  • potatoes
  • kabocha (or regular pumpkin would work too)
  • celery stalks + leaves
  • leeks
  • carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil 
  • garlic cloves 
  • milk (I use soy because I don't have access to almond, but you can use dairy of course)
Do this:

Chop the veggies and bacon as small as you have time for--the smaller they are, the quicker they cook. Add them to a stock pot and sprinkle with olive oil. Saute a few minutes if you have time, or if you don't, go ahead and cover them with stock (or water + sake + bouillon powder or cubes) and add the rest of the ingredients. I would only put in enough liquid to just cover everything because you want this thick and creamy.

Bring to a boil and cook till everything is tender. I use an immersion blender to blend it all right in the pot, but you can use a regular blender if you have it.

Lastly, add some milk to taste.

Rx: Keep a jar of this handy and enjoy whenever you need an elixir of heat in your system.